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How Consumers Prefer to Receive Marketing Messages

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Consumers prefer to receive marketing messages, special offers, and coupons from brands via email more than any other communication channel, according to a recent report from Message Systems.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in September 2014 from 500 adult Internet users in the United States.

Half of respondents say they do not want to receive any marketing communications at all from brands.

A quarter say they prefer to be contacted by email, the most popular communication channel by far.

Some 9% like text messages and 7% are fans of snail mail. Just 5% of respondents say social media is their preferred way of being contacted with marketing messages and offers.


For non-emergency customer service issues, email again is the most liked channel, with 32% of respondents saying that is how they prefer to initiate interactions.

Phone conversations are the next most popular channel for non-emergency customer service issues (29% prefer), followed by online chat (9%) and social media (7%).

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey conducted in September 2014 of 500 adult Internet users in the United States.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Sally Draper Mon Dec 8, 2014 via web

    So interesting that we're focused on this being a 'win' for email, but really over 1/2 of the people don't want ANY notification from us at all. Something to keep in mind as you're estimating response rates for your campaigns. :)

  • by Ayaz Nanji Mon Dec 8, 2014 via web

    Great point Sally, I meant to highlight that 50% figure more. It really is important to keep in mind.

  • by Katherine Mon Dec 8, 2014 via web

    Interesting research Ayaz. Id point out that the growth of smartphones is going to heavily impact how customers are initiating communication with businesses (either via a phone call or email). Being able to measure how people are contacting you and how effective your marketing campaigns are will grow in importance as well.

  • by Vivek Tue Dec 9, 2014 via web

    Great insights Ayaz. These statistics would definitely help to plan email marketing campaign. Thanks for sharing.

  • by GoPromotional Fri Dec 12, 2014 via web

    Above all, they must live this through targeted, relevant messages and timely messages delivered via the channels consumers prefer. Get this wrong and consumers will not hesitate to walk away from the brand. Get it right and they will become advocates.

  • by Michele Engel Sat Dec 13, 2014 via web

    I just read the report to get a better idea of how it was conducted. First, a sample size of 500 responses is not that large; I'd like to have seen the conclusions from a sample size at least twice that number. The question asked is also too general. I'd have preferred they asked at least three questions: 1) How do you want communication from brands that interest you, 2) How do you want communication from brands you've never heard of (are new to you), and 3) How do you want communication from brands you feel are irrelevant to your needs? It's important to me to know how best to reach the folks I have reason to believe have an interest in or need for my product/service. And I think the survey would reveal, in fact, that folks are actually pretty interested in hearing from companies they like. A breakdown by age might be useful info, as well.

  • by Modi Kwanza Mon Dec 15, 2014 via web

    Social media numbers are somewhat surprising; for instance, Facebook users like to get coupons.
    Also, I'd love to know where that 50% group goes to get to marketing message, Sunday newspaper or wait for TV ads?

  • by Nicole Delorme Fri Jan 9, 2015 via web

    As a consumer, I would agree with this posting. E-mail is the easiest way to grab my attention - I do not want to be bothered by a phone call, Facebook ads I am completely blind to, and with e-mail I can revisit the message later, file or save it to be used at another time. One of our marketing strategies is to send a monthly e-mail to our clients and roster of temporary staff across the country. We monitor who opens the email and who chooses to unsubscribe. It's a tactic that continues to work by helping us stay connected to our clients and inform them of any upcoming promotions.

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